Manly United FC v Marconi Stallions FC
MANLY United finally found their goal scoring boots at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon, thrashing a woeful Marconi Stallions 4-1.
Backing up from Wednesday night’s rescheduled 2-2 draw with Parramatta FC at Melita Stadium, the home side were expected to have heavy legs.
It wasn’t the case, with midfield trio Daniel Bragg, Brad McDonald and Brendan Cholakian running riot from the outset.
Bragg should have opened up the scoring after 17′ minutes.
Cholakian played him into space and the one time Gold Coast United utility connected well, but his effort was straight at Stallions keeper Sam Nastic, who blocked from point blank range.
Shortly after, the lively Cholakian found teammate Daniel Saric in the area, but the Kiwi youth international was guilty of a poor first touch and the chance went begging.
United did score the game’s opening goal on 27 minutes.
Saric cut a ball back from the byline and Dejan Pandurevic was on hand to force it home past Nastic.
Bragg should have scored United’s second moments later, only to find Nastic once again in the road from eight yards.
You sensed after the break the floodgates were going to open, with Marconi, who looked pedestrian at times, out on their feet.
But it was an unexpected Manly player who doubled their account on 57′ minutes.
Defender Sam Gallagher forced home a ball after Nastic spilt a routine delivery inside the box.
Next to find the back of the net was Chris Payne.
After finding himself on the bench, the striker showed coach Paul Dee why he deserved to be in the starting XI, scoring with his first touch following a majestic chip with 67′ minutes played.
Payne then turned provider on 81 minutes, finding Cholakian who eventually slotted home from an acute angle.
Marconi did grab a consolation goal, with substitute Jacob Boutoubia dusting himself off at the death after he was clipped in the area by Rhys Williams.
Boutoubia held his nerve to beat Dylan Mitchell from 12 yards, but it meant zero as United were clearly the better side.
Dee was understandably a happy man at the final whistle.
“I thought our boys played the brand of football we know they can play,” the coach said.
“I felt every player on the pitch did his job well.
“With the Waratah Cup Final next weekend, I will give the boys a breather before we start preparing for Sydney Olympic FC and Blacktown City FC.”
His opposite Jeff Suzor didn’t hold back when reflecting on Marconi’s below par performance.
“No excuses at all, Manly were far too good and we were atrocious, absolute rubbish,” he fumed.
“We gifted them three goals – I don’t have the magic answer, we prepare well all week and then on game day just fall apart.
“At this stage I think we are odds on to be relegated.
“I have no doubt this current squad is the worst Marconi first grade team in club history.”